2021 TRAVEL PLANS

Wow!  The last travel blog I posted was in October 2019!  Seems like a looong time ago!

In 2021, Jay and I will celebrate our 55th anniversary, and we were planning a really special journey, but then along came Covid!  So first, let me tell you what we are NOT doing!

We made our first down payment on our Fall 2021 cruise (aka Version #1 of the anniversary cruise) in February 2019, and every couple of months, we made payments toward a fantastic voyage from Seattle, to Alaska, through the Aleutian Islands, to the Diomede Islands (on the border of US and Russia), over the northern coast of Russia, to Tromsey, Norway.  From Norway, we were going to wind our way down to London, after which we hoped to be able to connect with our Granddaughter Ylenia, who lives in Florence, Italy.  

This voyage was planned on a brand new expedition style ship which was being built in Germany.  Unfortunately, the shipyard was closed during part of the pandemic, and the ship could not be completed in time to be tested and positioned for the start of the trip. CANCELLED!

Version #2 of the anniversary cruise would have started in Iceland, visited the Faroe Islands, visited Norway, then checked out England, Wales and Scotland, including the Orkney Islands then zipped over to western Europe. We would have visited Amsterdam, Brussels and France, including Guernsey Island and Saint Malo. After a final visit to England, Wales and Ireland’s Dengle Peninsula, we would have crossed the Atlantic and sailed to the Northeast US, probably ending in New York City.  Covid restrictions caused another CANCELLATION!

Version #3 of the anniversary cruise would have been shorter, but we planned to visit Ylenia for a few days in Florence then we would have sailed up and down the Croatian Coast.  Just got word that Covid has caused yet another CANCELLATION!  

Bottom line:  we don’t know what we’re doing for our anniversary! 

BUT if all goes well (fingers crossed) we have an East African tour in mid-May to early June.  The plan includes a gorilla trek in Rwanda, the great migration in Tanzania, and more game drives in Kenya.

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Hope to see you along the way, and we promise some exciting photos!

We’ve Come Full Circle

I forgot to show you last night’s luxurious hotel in Sheboygan:

Today is our last day of touring the Great Lakes, and by the end of the day we will have come full circle.

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We had a morning tour of the Kohler Manufacturing plant in the town of Kohler.

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No photos were allowed inside, but the Clausens provided photos from the Kohler Design Center taken on a prior tour:

This factory manufactures mainly toilets, bathtubs and sinks.  They  have an interesting artist-in-residence program, but this tour included only a small part of the art Kohler has sponsored over the years.  The majority of the art is back in Sheboygan at the non-profit John Michael Kohler Arts Center.

We had a pleasant afternoon drive, with a few surprises:  a little creek running through a town, murals and sculptures, and a FLAG!

This flag was part of a veterans memorial at the ACUITY insurance company headquarters.  It claims to be the “world’s tallest symbol of freedom” and Wikipedia says it is the tallest flagpole in North America.  The pole is 400 feet high, and you can see it from a LONG ways away, as the Hulstrom’s photo shows:

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After lunch we had a quick visit to the Old Wisconsin Sausage  and Smokehouse factory outlet.  Lots of yummy samples!

Finally we completed the full circle of our tour at our original hotel in West Allis (suburb of Dearborn), WI, and a group dinner at Mader’s German Beer Hall where we had our welcome dinner 3 weeks ago! Some of us dressed up, some of us didn’t.  And not only did we have our accordionist, Cyndi Krill, but we also had our own trumpeter, John Hulstrom.  And we had several presentations to Marcus (and Mary in absentia) for the wonderful tour they organized for us.

If you’ve been reading our blogs, you know how much fun this group has had this month.  There were also trying times…  A couple of Model A’s didn’t make the entire tour…  Below are photos of the Biebecks’ break-down which could have been really serious.  Fortunately, it did not occur when they were traveling at speed.

I believe the Dickensons had an issue that caused them to put the car on the trouble trailer, but I have no photos. Oops!  Correction, the Dickinsons were fine — I’ll report the trailered couple when I confirm the correct name! Other cars had relatively minor problems, but the group came together to and multiple mechanics fixed most problems. It’s amazing what a group like this can do.

All in all, it was a very successful tour.  Hope to see you down the road!

 

 

 

Snow and Football

The Great Lakes Model A Tour is approaching it’s end. This is the 20th day of the tour, and we started driving south.  We have had relatively good weather…  At first, we had pretty warm weather, then we had periods of rain, but still not too cold.  Then, suddenly, the temps dropped.  On the first part of our drive today, we had rain and even some snow!  Can you see the snowflakes?

Our main stop of the day was in Green Bay, WI, where we toured Lambeau field, home of the Green Bay Packers.

As we waited for our tour, a retired Packer posed with us.  Sorry, I can’t remember his name, but he sure was BIG!

Toward the end of our tour, we entered the field through the same tunnel the Packers use for home games.

We even got a little cardio in…

Not to mention portraits by the Packers’ goalpost:

Here’s a shot from the Hulstroms:

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And several from the Clausens:

From Green Bay, we continued South to our hotel in Sheboygan, WI.  Our friends Michael, Lisa, and Julie live nearby, and we met for dinner.  This night was the night of the Hunter’s Moon, which is the last full moon before the start of the hunting season.  I think it’s also called the “orange” moon, although it wasn’t really orange.

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Tomorrow, we complete our drive South to Milwaukee, where we started the tour. We will have come full circle.  Check out our final activities tomorrow.

 

 

Ferry Crossing and Unusual Food

This is our 19th day of the Great Lakes Tour (Sat., October 12).  We started the day with an early morning 4-hour car ferry crossing of Lake Michigan.  We departed from Ludington, MI, and landed in Manitowac, WI.

Some passengers didn’t enjoy the motion of the waves at the beginning of the sail, and although it got smoother as we approached Wisconsin, some were VERY happy to step on land again.

Here are shots of the ferry taken by the Krills:

The USS Badger is the last coal fired ship/ferry still sailing the Great lakes and it has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Our crossing was the next to last of the season.

We met a long-time friend, Michael, for lunch across from this courthouse in Manitowac.

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From Manitowac, WI, we ambled northward toward Door County and our hotel in Sturgeon Bay, WI. Here are a few pix along the way:

For dinner, we all gathered at Scaturo’s Baking Co. for an authentic Door County “Fish Boil”.  It was cold and windy so we gathered inside in the warmth.

Then we stepped outside to view the actual boil-over.  The Hulstroms got this shot of most of us as the boil was about to happen.

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Other shots of the process:

And, the final results:

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One of Our FAVORITE Museums

Today we drove about 17 miles to Hickory Corners, MI, to visit the Gilmore Car Museum.  The docents arranged special parking for our Model As on the lawn of the facility.

We had a tour of the Model A Museum (the largest in the world), a vintage diner, various period  displays, and over 300 vintage autos and motorcycles.

Our car clubs had contributed to the new museum and received acknowledgement in the form of engraved bricks.

Tonight’s hotel is in Ludington, MI, on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan because we’ll take a car ferry across the Lake tomorrow morning.  See you then!

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Turkeys, Cars, and… OOPS

Today, October 10th, Jay and I attempt to rejoin the tour group.  Since we were flying into Detroit too late to make the first stop, the Hulstroms document Cornwell’s Turkey Farm.  This is not only a turkey  farm where they raise turkeys it’s also an all-turkey restaurant. (Photos by Hulstrom.)

After the turkeys, the group visited Philip and Mark Eyre’s private collection of Model As, Model Ts and a Model N. (More photos by Hulstrom.)

Terry, Sally and Cammie had waited for us in Dearborn and we thought we would be able to see the car collection, and here we are leaving the Detroit area.

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But…MAJOR oil leak from the rear main (?)…resulting in oil on the clutch…which made shifting very difficult.

After some road attention, we limped the rest of the way from Dearborn westward to Battle Creek, Michigan.

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Tomorrow, we’ll head to Gilmore, which is a fantastic Model A museum and other era artifacts.

 

 

 

Detroit vs Nashville…

Today is October 9 and Jay and I are still in Nashville for our daughter’s birthday. But the tour group has a BUSY day.  First stop is the Picquette Plant facility, the original ford factory built in 1904 and the birthplace of the Model T.

Next stop is the Ford Rouge Plant to view the assembly line of the aluminum F-150 pick-up. They walked the catwalks above the line to view the production from a bare chassis to driving out the other end with six gallons in the tank.

The final stop was to tour the Edsel and Eleanor Ford home..

The group had a pizza party for dinner in the lobby.

Highlights from the Hulstroms:

In the meantime, we were celebrating Adina’s birthday in Nashville.

We’ll rejoin the tour group in the morning,

The Tour Is In Detroit; We’re In Nashville

Jay and I are leaving the tour for a couple of days to celebrate our daughter’s birthday in Nashville, so the group is reporting highlights of these couple of days in the Detroit area for the blog. (Most of the shots below are by Terri Padgett.)

We said goodbye to the group as they boarded their tour bus.  All the Model As stayed at the hotel for the day.

After the bus left, this is what Jay did while we waited for our plane to take us to Nashville:

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Meanwhile, the tour visited the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation.  The tour took them into the original lab where Thomas Edison had his lightbulb moment.

They spent the afternoon outside at Greenfield Village and had lunch was on our own at one of the several period restaurants on the property.

On the way back to the hotel, we visited the gravesite of Henry and Clara Ford and the bus took them to St. Claire Shores, MI, to tour the Edsel and Eleanor Ford home.

Here are some of the Hulstroms’ highlights:

More tours on the docket for the tour group tomorrow…

More Than Just Cars

Our first stop of the day was at the private Stahl’s Automotive Museum in Chesterfield, MI.  Here are our cars in the parking lot and just a few cars inside the museum.

Besides all kinds of automotive memorabilia, there was a fabulous collection of player pianos, organs, and other mechanical instruments.

And our tour accordionist Cyndi found her favorite mechanized  instrument:

There were also jukeboxes, gambling machines, and a 50’;s style diner, complete with the Blues Brothers.

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After lunch at the museum, we headed toward our hotel in Dearborn, MI, which is a suburb of Detroit – and our first signs of a big city:

Dinner was on our own, but many of us were drawn to Ford’s Garage, a fun restaurant with auto-themed decorations.

Here are some highlights documented by the Krills:

The tour will stay three nights in Dearborn with bus tours of various museums nearby.  We’re all thankful we don’t have to drive our cars in the busy Detroit traffic!

 

 

A Lighthouse, Pretzels, and a German Dinner

Today was a busy day…  We started out with a 70 mile drive to Point Aux Barques Lighthouse in Port Hope, MI.

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The museum here usually closes on October 1st, but they were so excited about our group of 1928-1931 Model A Fords that the volunteers came in just for us!

They even fed us a picnic lunch, which was really yummy!

Next we drove to Frankenmuth, MI, which is an entire town devoted to Bavarian style architecture and its German roots.  And, it’s the home of the “World’s Largest Christmas Store”.

We had to curtail the shopping, though because we had a date to learn to roll pretzels. We started the class by donning pretzel “glasses” and food-handler hair nets.  The former were optional, the latter were required. Here’s our group and our pretzel instructors:

You can tell that while some of us were a little skeptical, we ended up having a lot of fun.

Pretzels in progress and a few of the finished product:

The staff baked our pretzels while we enjoyed a German dinner with accordion music provided by our own Cindi Krill.

Tomorrow we may be heading further away from the Lakes, but there’s an exciting stop planned for lunch.  Stay tuned!